This morning’s topic is “Bodhisattva of Compassion.” During the month of May, on the full moon day, it is customary in our Vedanta Societies to celebrate Buddha Purnima. This immensely sacred day, known to Buddhists as Vaisak, is considered thrice-blessed, for it commemorates the birth of the Buddha, his enlightenment, and his departure from this world, three pivotal events in human history.
Girishchandra Ghosh, the noted Bengali playwright and prominent disciple of Sri Ramakrishna, brought his master to see many of his plays. And by doing so, Girish made him the patron saint of the Bengali stage. Through his plays, Girish carried Ramakrishna’s message to the red-light districts of Calcutta. Christopher Isherwood notes: ‘In those days, actresses in the Bengali theatre were regarded as no better than prostitutes—a prejudice which also persisted in England until at least the beginning of the nineteenth century.’
There was an American play that was very popular a few years ago. It ran on Broadway for months, perhaps years. It was called “You Can't Take It With You.” The theme concerned an ageing man who had made a good deal of money and who lived only for making money. Then some shock occurs. He realizes for the first time in his life that he is mortal, that he will die, that he has devoted himself to a largely false effort, that he has wasted his time, that—and this gives the play its title—he can't take his wealth with him.
The subject we are going to discuss is self-control—should it be gradual or forcible? Firstly, self-control means control and mastery over the mind, senses and the body. A person who has control is a sage. One who has not is a slave. One who has control has peace, happiness, tranquillity and also self-knowledge. Thoughts, delusions and illusions harass one who lacks it.